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We Use Math

When will I use this?

Meet professionals from a number of exciting fields, who use mathematics in their jobs every day, in the We Use Math video series.  After months of planning and filming, the introduction segment is now complete and ready for viewing.

Math opens understanding of ancient civilizations

While many developed civilizations have left written language for us to interpret through the centuries, others developed their own less-understood means of writing, often through pictures.

With the help of mathematics, researchers in England are cracking the code, so to speak, on the writings and images left to us by ancient inhabitants of Scotland.

Their findings have recently been published the Proceedings of the Royal Society.

Math in the real world ... really.

Actually, make that more specific: the underwater world.

Using mathematical models, Cornell University researchers have developed tools to help marine biologists better understand the processes that occur underwater, including coral bleaching and bacterial diseases.

Inspiring HS math teacher leaves legacy

Jaime Escalante changed minds and opinions about the possibility of successfully teaching demanding subjects to inner-city students. In 1982, 14 of Escalante's students at Garfield High School in working-class East Los Angeles passed the Advanced Placement calculus exam. Many more students took and passed the challenging exam during Escalante's years teaching at the school.

Can math help us sleep better?

Maybe math hasn't contributed much to improve your daily rest. (Or maybe, at times, it has.)

But while we don't understand all the reasons for why the human body even needs sleep, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York state are taking a new approach to understanding the science of sleep, using mathematics. The research includes mathematical models measuring how environmental, medical or physical changes to the human body affect sleep, in order to more fully understand the sleep-wake cycle.

Just in time...

In case there's still any recognizable trace of pending success left in your NCAA tournament bracket this year, here's a new angle to consider. Economists have presented findings supporting the idea that basketball refs may be biased in many of their calls. We've considered the possibility for a long time, but now, thanks to math, we have evidence!

One million digits of pi

While the world celebrated pi day over the weekend, you may have felt that your memorization skills could use some sharpening. Or maybe you just plan to outshine the competition in next March's pi recitation contests. Either way, take a look here to start practicing your digits, so you're not left embarrassed when someone asks you the question and you can only remember the first two places--anyone can do that.

High-paying jobs use math skills

A Yahoo article highlights six jobs which can quickly earn you $100K, and math skills are valuable to many of those listed. Take a look.

Calculating Success in Baseball

Kerry Whisnant, an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan and professor of physics at Iowa State University, may be on to something that will greatly impact team winning percentages. Mathematical models that he and other fanatic baseball statisticians have helped produce may accurately predict teams' successes. Whisnant and other members of the Society for American Baseball Research have analyzed baseball statistics, creating new theories about team success.

Finding Lost Things...Big Lost Things

In 1966, a mid-air collision between a USAF B-52 bomber and an air refueling tanker off the coast of Spain caused more damage than the destroyed aircraft. The bomber carried four atomic bombs. Three were recovered soon afterward on land, but the fourth was nowhere to be found, and presumed to be at the bottom of the Mediterranean.


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The most common question students ask math teachers at every level is “When will I use math?” is a non-profit website that helps to answer this question. This website describes the importance of mathematics and many rewarding career opportunities available to students who study mathematics.



Figures represent salary potential.


Dr. Cary Oberije, a postdoctoral researcher in The Netherlands, has found that mathematical models can be used to accurately predict patients' responses to treatment. Prediction models were used to analyze lung cancer patients' likelihood of survival and...

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